Death Wish

Death Wish

From Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

 

In which Sophie and Michael go by night to the marshes for the purpose of catching a falling star:

"One of the stars came unstuck from the firmament and darted in a white streak down the sky. 'There’s one!' Sophie shrieked.

"Michael … was off…. Down far out in the marshes with mist and emptiness and dull-glimmering pools in all directions….

"And there was the falling star. Sophie could see it, a little white descending flame shape a few yards beyond the dark movements that were Michael. The bright shape was coming down slowly now, and it looked as if Michael might catch it….

"Michael was stalking the star with soft steps, both arms out to catch it. Sophie could see him outlined against the star’s light. The star was drifting level with Michael’s hands and only a step or so beyond. It was looking back at him nervously. How odd! Sophie thought. It was made of light, it lit up a white ring of grass and reeds and black pools around Michael, and yet it had big, anxious eyes peering backward at Michael, and a small, pointed face.

"Sophie’s arrival frightened it. It gave an erratic swoop and cried out in a shrill, crackling voice, 'What is it? What do you want?'

"Sophie tried to say to Michael, Do stop – it’s terrified! But she had no breath left to speak with.

"'I only want to catch you,' Michael explained. 'I won’t hurt you.'

"'No! No!' the star crackled desperately. 'That’s wrong! I’m supposed to die!'

"'But I could save you if you’d let me catch you,' Michael told it gently.

"'No!' cried the star. 'I’d rather die!'

“It dived away from Michael’s fingers. Michael plunged for it, but it was too quick for him. It swooped for the nearest marsh pool, and the black water leaped into a blaze of whiteness for just an instant. Then there was a small, dying sizzle. When Sophie hobbled over, Michael was standing watching the last light fade out of a little round lump under the dark water."

 
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